EFFECT OF LABORATORY EXPERIENCE IN STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT IN BIOLOGY
The research study was carried out to examine the effect of laboratory experience in student achievement in biology. A review of related literature was used as guide in establishing principles for the study. In order to achieve the objectives of this study, three research questions were raised to guide the study. A survey design was employed in carrying out the study. All Biology teachers were used for the study.
A total of nineteen (19) selected teachers and one hundred students were drawn from all the eight (8) Secondary Schools in the study area. Two checklists were developed for the study. Biology Checklist containing twenty (20) items was the instrument for data collection. The generated data was analyzed using mean deviation and simple percentage (%).The result of the findings revealed that the laboratory experience affect the academic achievement of students in Biology in secondary schools.
1.1 Background to the Study
Science is doing and involves regular hands – on practical work for learners to develop scientific literacy to face global challenges. Biology as a science subject is studied or taught by using different methods which employs the use of all sense organs including olfactory (smell), gustatory (taste), auditory (hearing), kinesthetic (skin),and optical (seeing) of which only the application of theory in teaching and learning could not yield 100-percent accuracy without the use of laboratory resources. Thus, effective teaching and learning of biology in secondary schools with the use of laboratory resources is very necessary if biology teachers must gainfully achieve stated objectives.
Biology as a science subject is based on practicals and experiments. Its objectives as contained in the National policy on education (FRN, 2013) include among others to equip learners with meaningful and relevant knowledge of Biology. It is only through the availability and utilization of these materials (laboratory materials) that the above objectives and goals can be achieved.
In addition, Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their physical structure, chemical processes, molecular interactions, physiological mechanisms, development and evolution. According to the national policy on education (Federal Republic of Nigerian, 2013), learning of biology will provide the students with suitable laboratory and field skills in biology.
To make objectives of teaching and learning of biology achievable, emphasis should be placed on field studies, guided discovery, laboratory techniques and skills. The teaching and learning of biology motivate students to; develop practical techniques and process skills; acquire knowledge and develop understanding of fundamental biological principles, concepts, terms and facts; show understanding of the applications and uses of biological knowledge in daily life; develop an understanding of current issues and developments in biology.
Laboratory experience means a component of classroom instruction consisting of a simulated clinical experience, in which the student is provided the opportunity to practice skills. The laboratory experience gives the students the opportunity of seeing, touching, smelling, and hearing.
Utilization of laboratory resources defines the extent or how often the available science laboratory materials are used during classes or laboratory sessions. These materials includes beakers, Petri-dish etc. According to Lawal (2013), such materials promote learning by doing, make the classroom lively, real, and meaningful and have the potential to make the content worth learning.
When this laboratory materials are used it will promote creativity and self-reliance and at the same time, contributes meaningfully to effective teaching. Some Laboratory materials can be readily acquired, modified or developed by ingenious teachers to suit various needs and purposes in the teaching/learning process (Nkang, 2012).
The science laboratory has a direct effect on both students’ attitudes and academic performance as per the instructional theory of learning interaction. It is generally believed that constant practice leads to proficiency in what the learner learns during classroom instruction; hence, the dictum “practice makes perfect” (Lawal, 2013).
The quality of teaching and learning experience depends on the extent of the adequacy of laboratory resources in secondary schools and the teacher’s effectiveness in the use of laboratory resources with the aim of facilitating and providing meaningful learning experiences in the learners.
The availability and adequate use of laboratory resources during science instruction helps to develop values that aid the learners in decision-making.
The laboratory is a distinctive feature in science teaching and learning. (Stuckey, 2013).
Lyons (2012), states that learning is a complex activity that involves interplay of students‟ motivation, physical resources, teaching resources, skills of teaching and curriculum demands. The process of managing and organizing resources is called resource utilization.
The utilization of resources (laboratory resources) in education brings about fruitful learning outcomes since resources stimulate students learning as well as motivating them. It is therefore necessary for the teachers to utilize available resources in teaching the learners in order to help the students comprehend the lesson with ease which will in turn improves their overall achievement in school.
Effect of laboratory experience in student achievement in biology
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The use of laboratory in the teaching of biology has come a long way but experience has shown that many teachers have abandoned this practice for the classroom. The laboratory and its equipment and materials are therefore left to be covered with dust in some cases in view of the predominance of the lecture methods of teaching biology and in view of the obvious fact that this method has not attracted many students to the subject.
However, the continuous record of students’ poor attitudes towards the study of Biology is a serious problem in the Nigeria educational system, most especially at the secondary school level. Teaching and learning of biology ought to be simplified, comprehensive and concrete.
Extensive use of laboratory resources makes biology interesting, stimulating and understandable to the learners. The success of biology students in secondary schools largely depends on the availability and effective utilization of available human and material resources.
Biology as a science subject is faced with some problems, such as limited qualified teachers available, limited time allotted to practical classes to the minimal or even omit practical activities.
Teachers find it difficult during laboratory activities to supervise and teach large classes and combine the practical effectively with normal class lessons. Students on their part have the problem of comprehending what is taught without the complementary laboratory activities in biology.
Most laboratory resources are either lost, damaged or carelessly stored. It was on this background that the researcher became interested to investigate whether the laboratory experience affects students academic achievement in secondary schools.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study was to examine the effect of laboratory experience in student achievement in biology in Ilorin East Local Government Area.
Specifically, the study sought to:
Investigate the availability of laboratory materials in the teaching of Biology in secondary schools.
Examine the extent of which the utilization of laboratory materials affects academic achievement of students in Biology in secondary schools.
Laboratory experience and student achievement in biology
1.4 Significance of the Study
The findings of this study will be beneficial to the following persons: biology teachers, biology students, education administrators, policy makers, researchers, curriculum planners and textbook writers.
The result of the study could enable biology teachers to see the need for effective and efficient utilization of available laboratory resources provided to schools. In the same way, students will appreciate the need to manage and improvise laboratory resources in secondary schools.
Biology students would realize the importance of group and individual laboratory work situations in the effort of learning biology concepts. It could also help the students to become knowledgeable in the following areas: communication, problem-solving, self-confidence and critical thinking. These are knowledge they are expected to acquire from practical activities which could lead to students’ improvement on their academic achievement.
To education administrators as the recommendations will enhance educational growth. It will also furnish them with the quantity and quality of laboratory resources that are available in secondary schools the extent to which they are utilized for effective and efficient dispensation of lessons. They will also appreciate the need to plan, direct, control, co-ordinate and supervise institutions of higher learning to actualize national educational objectives.
The findings of this study will help policy makers to work out effective means of providing and managing resources in biology laboratories in secondary schools. This could be achieved through the establishment of resource centres where laboratory resources could be purchased, observed and experimented with at subsidized rates.
Researchers on assessing this study would find it useful since it will provide them with documents and reference materials.
To the curriculum experts the findings of the study could form a basis for introducing laboratory innovations in teaching at all levels to promote practical based learning in schools.
The textbook writers on assessing the findings of this study would upgrade the content of the textbooks to include fifty (50) percent practical and fifty (50) percent theoretical work on all science and its related subjects.
1.5 Research Questions
The following research questions were raised to guide the study
To what extent are laboratory materials available in the teaching biology affects students achievement?
To what extent are laboratory materials utilized affects academic achievement of students in biology?
The Impact of laboratory experience on student achievement in biology
1.6 Limitation of the Study
In conducting a research study of this kind, there will be bound to be some challenges. Thus, some of the challenges will be encountered in the course of this study are as follows:
Time constraint: time duration allowed for the completion of this research work could not be enough for the research to have a wider scope. Hence some schools were sampled and student out of all the schools in the area.
Financial problem: this constituted one of the major limitations to the researcher especially as the researcher had to source for relevant materials on the topic and visit the sampled schools under the investigation for data collection.
Insufficient references materials: this also was a problem as the researcher needed enough relevant literature on the topic.
1.7 Delimitation of the Study
The study was delimited to the effect of laboratory experience in student achievement in biology in Ilorin East Local Government Area. It was delimited to selected secondary schools in the study area.
1.8 Definition of Terms
The following key concepts will be defined as used in the study:
Laboratory: This is a place equipped and used for explanation to scientific laws and theories to students while learning Biology.
Laboratory experience: Laboratory experience means a component of classroom instruction consisting of a simulated clinical experience, in which the student is provided the opportunity to practice skills. The laboratory experience gives the students the opportunity of seeing, touching, smelling, and hearing.
Teaching: This is the act of helping people to learn effectively.
Biology: This is the study of plants and animals.
Lawson Peter – Chief Editor in Projectvilla Nigeria. A writer and academic researcher.